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Zebulon Montgomery Pike (January 5, 1779 – April 27, 1813) was an American brigadier general and explorer for whom Pikes Peak in Colorado was renamed (from El Capitan). As a U.S. Army officer he led two expeditions, first to reconnoiter the upper reaches of the Mississippi River in 1805-06 and then in 1806-07 to explore the Southwest to the fringes of the northern Spanish-colonial settlements. Pike's expeditions coincided with other Jeffersonian expeditions including the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) and the Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis expedition (1806). The second Pike Expedition crossed the Rocky Mountains into southern Colorado, which led to his capture by the Spanish, who sent Pike and his men to Chihuahua (present-day Mexico), for interrogation. Later in 1807 Pike and some of his men were escorted by the Spanish through Texas and released near American territory.

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